Teacher treated for viral meningitis, school taking precautions

Teacher treated for viral meningitis, school taking precautions

NORTH OLMSTED, OH (WOIO) - A teacher at

in North Olmsted is being treated for

, the most common type of meningitis.

Doctors say most students should be safe.

"When we hear the word meningitis, the things we think about are bacterial meningitis. And if this is viral meningitis, we don't have that level of concern," says Dr. Claudia Hoyen, director of infection control at


Dr. Hoyen says the virus is not that contagious.

Symptoms to look for include headache, fever, stiff neck, sensitivity to bright light and loud noises.

"They don't want to move their necks because of all the inflammation surrounding their spinal cord. It's actually quite uncomfortable to move their neck," she says.

In most cases, the virus goes away on its own in a week to 10 days.

But it can affect infants and people with weak immune systems more. If you think your child has some form of meningitis, it's best to see a doctor right away.

"The thing about viral meningitis is, it's really about the way you have symptoms. And it isn't as contagious as we consider with other things," Hoyen says.

The best way to avoid the virus is to wash your hands as often as possible, as well as clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces.

The superintendent of North Olmsted City Schools released this statement Wednesday:

This afternoon - Wednesday, April 22nd - we learned that a teacher at Maple Intermediate School is being treated for viral meningitis.

Viral meningitis should not be confused with the more serious bacterial meningitis. Viral meningitis is caused by a virus and is the most common type of meningitis.  In most cases, there is no specific treatment and people recover on their own in 7 - 10 days. 

However, infants younger than 1-month-old and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.

Even if you have been in close contact with someone who has viral meningitis, you are not likely to develop meningitis but you may become infected with the virus. 

The best prevention to avoid becoming ill with a virus is frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and hot water, especially after changing diapers, using the toilet, coughing or blowing your nose. 

The district is taking every possible action to help minimize any health risk to our students and staff. Our custodians regularly clean all areas of the school with disinfectant.  We are also taking aggressive measures for extra cleaning of Maple school, and for our busses, as an added precaution. 

Please know that we take this situation seriously and will keep you informed of any further developments. 

Dr. Mike Zalar


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